ROC demands release of fishermen held by Manila
A Taiwanese fishing boat detained in the Philippines on charges of poaching in Philippine territorial waters is innocent because satellite monitoring data shows that it was not fishing at the time, a Taiwanese fishery official said Friday.
Furthermore, there were only two Taiwanese nationals aboard the Donggang, Pingtung Countyregistered boat the Der Man Fu No. 3, when it was seized by a Philippine patrol boat a day earlier in waters over 10 nautical miles from the Philippine island of Balintang, Fishery Agency Deputy Director-General Huang Hung-yen said.
With only two people aboard, the boat “could not have been fishing at all,” Huang said.
The Der Man Fu No. 3 is now anchored in a northern port in Luzon, he added, noting that both the fishermen and the boat are safe.
The skipper’s brother has told reporters in Pingtung that the fishing boat was only passing through Philippine territorial waters. Huang said Friday that he was told the ship was planning to pick up a foreign crew in another port.
The fishermen will face an investigation since they have been accused of poaching in Philippine territorial waters, according to Philippine officials.
This is the third incident involving Taiwanese fishing boats and the Philippine Coast Guard since early May.
Escalating tension instigated by these incidents has caused the postponement of a meeting between Taiwanese and Philippine officials scheduled for June 14-18 to discuss guidelines for the enforcement of fishing rights.